Are you starting up in business?
If so, do you have huge pots of money or swollen bank accounts you can dip into any time you need to take on another member of staff.
No, of course you don’t. And frankly, even if you did, spending that money on one dedicated member of staff might not be the right thing to do anyway. Freelancers can bring a new level of flexibility to your startup – and lets face it, that’s what you need when you’re getting out of the blocks.
We’ll walk you through how freelancers can be the painkiller you need when startup headaches kick in… and a few hints to make sure you get the most from the ones you choose…
One less worry
If there’s one thing I’m certain of it’s that starting up means you’ve got enough on your plate without thinking about hiring a logo design company and getting recruitment and payroll into place.
For that reason alone freelancers can look like an appealing option – they come to the table with a massive range of boxes ticked, in fact, you need to do little more than transfer them the amount of money they invoice.
For the busy entrepreneur this can be a lifesaver. Sure, you might be paying more on an hourly basis than you would an employee, but when you factor in the support you need to have in place around employment you’ll almost certainly come out ahead.
No fixed cost
Fixed costs when you’re getting up and running can be a killer – and are often the thing that sends new businesses under.
By taking on freelancers you bring talent to the table without committing to a monthly spend – and in doing so, keep some business agility should money become tight again.
The above point about fixed costs makes a lot of sense when you’re starting up, but can sometimes be met with jeers from people who think it’s more ethical to take on paid staff members.
I’m going to suggest the opposite. Your enthusiasm for your new venture might be massive, but that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed success – and since business certainly is lacking, why would you take someone onboard who you might have to let go in a matter of months owing to the changing need of the company?
Freelancers have made a lifestyle decision – and they make a decision again when they agree to work for you. They have the schedule they want and make allowances for jobs that might come and go quickly.
If the same can be said for a payroll employee then great, but that’s rarely the case.
You could be forgiven for thinking we’ve got a negative view of startups when you look at the points we’ve just covered – but we don’t, you just need to think about agility in both directions when you’re approaching business realistically.
With that in mind you need to think about what would happen if your business exploded tomorrow, a huge client, a development breakthrough, a change in the law – these are just a few of a huge number of things that could inspire massive activity for your business starting tomorrow morning.
Were it to happen could you scale quickly enough with traditional staff? Considering there’s every chance they’d need to be interviewed (at least twice) before they even consider giving their month (or more) of notice to their current employer – the answer is probably no.
With freelancers you’ve access to the same skills – but the very real possibility that you could be starting work with them in the next couple of hours if you needed to.
A huge talent pool
If you think the job market has become crowded over the last few years you should take a glance at the freelance ‘gig’ market.
More and more people are freelancing as their chosen method of employment – and a huge number of people are freelancing to support another role, often with a less skilled job as their main source of income.
This leads to a massive pool of talent available on good freelancer sites. Whether you need a virtual assistant to keep your paperwork in order or a social media manager who’s going to completely handle your social marketing output, you’ll find someone with no problems.
It’s not just new media that’s covered either, you’ll find accountants, book keepers, HR people and much more too.
You might have it in your mind that a freelancer is less likely to deliver the service you want when compared to an employed member of the team – but there’s every chance you’re wrong.
Being self-employed brings a heap of challenges for freelancers, not least the fact that sick days and time off means zero income – so motivation to work is often as high, if not higher, than someone who comes to your office each day.
Provided you check testimonials you’re likely to find extremely motivated and reliable freelancers who never fail to deliver, in fact, you always have the chance to incentivise delivery too – if you’ve got a particular project that needs to be signed off by tomorrow afternoon, then bumping the rate you’re paying in exchange for a guaranteed delivery can be a win/win situation.
Getting the most from freelancers
Follow these tips to make sure you maximise the working relationship with your chosen freelance team members…
Pay a reasonable amount
The cheap option often doesn’t represent the best value. Pay a reasonable amount and you buy professionalism and consistency.
Make sure you can see beyond the self-written hype. Check portfolios to ensure the work on offer meets your standard.
Don’t expect something for nothing
If a price looks too good to be true there’s a chance that it is. Freelancers aren’t an opportunity to pull a fast one and get an incredible skill for next to nothing, so don’t expect to pay peanuts but get works of art.
It can be really helpful for freelancers if you pay promptly – not only does it keep cashflow looking good for them, but it means you’re likely to earn a solid gold star when it comes to reaching out again for your next project.